Fortunately, there’s very little time to dwell on ugly losses in baseball. The Reds (57-64), fresh off a 13-4 defeat on Friday night, are back at it against the Cardinals (64-56) tonight. The last time they were bludgeoned — a 17-7 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday — they bounced back with a win. Let’s hope they can do the same tonight and play spoiler to the Cards, who are back in sole possession of first place in the NL Central after last night’s win. The Reds will have their work cut out for them, though, as they’ll essentially be playing with a 21-man roster. Joey Votto and Jesse Winker are out again, Eugenio Suarez is out after leaving Friday’s game with a sprained thumb, and Amir Garrett is still suspended.
First pitch is a little earlier than usual (6:40 p.m. ET) as Great American Ball Park is hosting a post-game concert.
Anthony DeSclafani will toe the rubber tonight. He’s in the midst of a rough stretch, having allowed 13 runs and five home runs in 14.1 innings over his last three outings. His fastball has been demolished for a .404 xwOBA in those three starts.
Meanwhile, his breaking pitches have become more hittable. DeSclafani has seen his whiff rate with the curveball drop dramatically.
Look for better command of those pitches tonight if DeSclafani is going to get back on track.
Miles Mikolas gets the start for the Cardinals. He has regressed in his second year in St. Louis. Mikolas has remained steady in his strikeout and walk rates, but his HR/FB has regressed to the mean. It sat at only 9.2% last season, well below league average. He’s made three starts against the Reds this year and allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in 16 innings.
Shorthanded in the bullpen, the Reds made another roster move today, calling up R.J. Alaniz from Triple-A and optioning Matt Bowman, who pitched 1.2 innings last night. Alaniz was a waiver claim from the Mariners in May and has a 2.93 ERA in Louisville. He has a 3.47 FIP and 4.95 xFIP, the discrepancy coming because he has had tremendous HR/FB luck (3.4%). Alaniz has a solid 25.4% strikeout rate and a shaky 9.0% walk rate.
No Yadier Molina or Paul DeJong for the Cardinals tonight.
Well, this isn’t a lineup anyone envisioned when the season began. Jesse Winker (back), Joey Votto (back), and Eugenio Suarez (thumb) are all out with injuries. It’s not currently known if any are available off the bench. If they’re not, that would leave Kyle Farmer as the only healthy bench player. Yikes.
Instead, the Reds are starting four position players with an xwOBA below .300. Expect them to score 15 runs tonight because baseball.
[Graphics: Baseball Savant]